Saturday, December 22, 2007

Modified Steamy Kitchen Noodles

I once made Jaden's Silver noddles and wrote about it here. I started calling them Steamy Kitchen noodles.I made them for dinner tonight but (here is where I should ask Jaden to forgive for messing with her recipe) I was too lazy to look up the recipe. I remembered she added lots of veggies. So I made the noodles with veggies, soy sauce, vegetable broth and (GASP) added 1/4 cup of white wine. Who puts white wine in a rice noodle dish? In my defense, I was too tired and furthermore, the noodles came out so good that my family ate it up before I took the picture :)

Saturday Lunch

After eating leftovers for lunch on week days, Prabu prefers a nice sit-down meal for weekends. It's usually a vegetarian luncheon on Saturday and non-veg lunch on Sundays.

This week I made:

Tomatillo Pappu
Mustard Greens Masiyal
Plantain fry
Fire roasted pappad ;)

Recipes coming soon. Till then enjoy the fugly pictures:)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good Ol' Potato Fry

Again, super easy. For me everything is easy. If not I try to make it easy :). The key to this dish is not to mess with it too much by stirring and mixing and things;). Check the picture below to see how I cut the potatoes. I will try to come up with a better picture next time. I cut them into thin pieces.

Ingredients:

Russet potatoes - 4 cut into small pieces

Olive Oil - 1/8 cup
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp.
Red Chilli powder - as spicy as you want
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp.
Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp. (optional)
Salt - to taste

Procedure:

- Heat oil in a wide pan (preferably non-stick). Add potatoes.
- Season with salt, turmeric and mix well.
- Turn the flame to medium to medium low and let it do it's thing.
- stir once in between and make sure potatoes are not sticking to the pan (they won't)
- When potatoes are 3/4 cooked, add cumin seeds and garlic powder. Mix once.
- Once potatoes are completely cooked through, add chilli powder. Saute till the raw chilli smell is gone. Remove from heat and serve.

Coriander Cubes

I do not like coriander at all. I very rarely use it as a garnish. I do use it discretely in many dishes as long as I don't see the leaves. I started buying the frozen coriander cubes from Trader Joe's as I hate all the work associated with cleaning, chopping of these leaves.

However, I am also trying to save money for this ;), so I decided to try making these cubes myself. I bought the ice cube tray from ikea.

Here's what you need and here's how I did.

Ingredients:

Coriander - 3 bunches
Water - 1/2 to 1 cup

Procedure:

- Tear individual leaves nad tender stems of coriander and rinse them thoroughly under cold water.
- Mince them in a food processor with 1/2 to 1 cup of water. It should be a tad bit liquidy.
- Pour the coriander into the ice molds and freeze them


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Easy Peasy Chicken Curry

This is super simple. Couple of things before we get into the recipe. I have never cooked chicken in a pressure cooker. Always cooked directly in a vessel and some times it would come out soft and some times hard. I tried not salting the meat till end and all but nothing would work. Then I discovered the wonders of pressure cooker. Costco carries a decent one for $40 bucks. The one I have is a pressure pan I got from India. It's a tad bit wider and doesn't need any inserts.

I use breast meat and that I let it cook for 2 whistles but this time Prabu got thigh meat which is tad bit dark and a teeny bit tough so cooked it for 3 whistles.

Ingredients:



Chicken - 2 lbs cut into bite sized pieces
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp.
Lemon juice - 1 tsp.

Marinate the above for an hour.

Onion - 1 chopped fine
Coriander leaves - 3 Tbsp minced
Mint leaves - 2 Tbsp.
Green Chillies - 2 slit length wise
Ginger and garlic paste - 1 tsp.
Coconut milk - 5.5 OZ can ( if you get the big 8 oz one, just use half)
Salt - to taste
Chilli powder - 1 tsp.
Turmeric - pinch
Oil - as needed

To be ground to fine powder:
Cloves - 8
Cinnamon - 2 inch stick
Cardamom - 4

Procedure:

- Heat oil in the pressure pan. Add coriander, mint leaves and green chillies. Stir for 20 seconds.
- Add onions. Season with salt and saute till soft.
- Add ginger and garlic paste, turmeric, chilli powder and half the cloves, cinnamon and cardamom powder.
- Cook for one minute.
- Add the chicken pieces and mix till all the masala is blended well with the chicken.
- Cover and cook on medium to medium low flame for 2 to 3 minutes checking to make sure nothing sticks at the bottom of the pan.
- Add coconut milk , mix and cover with the pressure pan lid tightly.
- Once you see steam coming out, put the weight( it's also called whistle) and sit and have coffee while it gives out 3 whistles. Turn the stove off after 3rd whistle.
- Let the pressure release by itself, don't force it out. Takes about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Now, turn the heat back on and cook for 2 minutes. Add the remaining cinnamon, clove powder. Mix well and check for consistency. It should be a little thick gravyish.

Turn off and serve with peas pulao:)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Suji's Peas Pulao

Husband wanted peas pulao to go with the chicken curry I made yesterday. here is what I came up with. Sometimes I look up recipes and sometimes ( I should say most times) I cook based on what the title suggests. Peas pulao obviously has peas and since Prabu wanted a light flavored rice here is how I did it.

I used frozen peas that I got from Indian grocery store. The reason I specify the grocery store is simple. The peas you get in Indian grocery stores are not sweet. Also, i get frozen coriander cubes from Trader Joe's which makes my life easier. I hate chopping coriander :).

Ingredients:


Rice - 1.5 cups
Peas - 1 cup
Onions - 1 cup thinly sliced
Coriander - 1 Tbsp. Minced
Green Chillies - 2 slit length wise
Cumin seeds - 1.5 tsp.
Black Cardamom ( badi elaichi) - 1
Cloves - 6
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch piece broken
Dry Bay Leaves - 1 big broken into pieces
Oil - 3 Tbsp.
Butter - 1Tbsp.
Salt As needed
Water - 3 cups

Procedure:

- Heat oil and butter in wide skillet.
- Add all the dry ingredients ( cumin, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and black cardamom).
- Saute for 30 seconds and turn the flame to low.
- Add coriander and green chillies. and saute for 20 seconds. Add onions.
- Season onions with salt and saute till they are soft.
- Add green peas and season them with slat. Cover and cook on medium- medium low flame till peas are cooked through.
- Wash the rice and drain water.
- Add the rice to the peas and onions mixture and stir till all the rice and spices are mixed well.
- Add 3 cups of water and turn the flame to high and cover the skillet.
- Once water comes to a boil turn the flame to low and check for seasoning. The water should taste tad bit salty for it to get to the rice.
- cook for 10 to 12 minutes checking in between to see rice is not sticking at the bottom
- Let the skillet be covered with a lid all the time.

Once you se ethat the rice is cooked, turn off and serve.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Prabu's Bread Upma

Oh yes he did. He cooked after what it seemed like an eternity. We had to finish all the produce and bread we got before we leave for our 5 week trip this Saturday. So he took over bread upma. I did not give him any suggestions or tips. He did everything on his own ;). It was good.




Ingredients:

Whole grain bread - 10 - 12 slices cut into cubes
Red Onion - 1 large thinly sliced length wise
Yellow pepper - 1 julienned
Green Chillies - 4 sliced length wise (take the seeds out if you want it to be less spicy)
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp.
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Oil - as needed

Procedure:


- Heat oil in a wok. Add mustard and cumin seeds.
- Once they start to sputter, add green chillies, onions and pepper and saute till soft.
- Season with salt and add cut bread pieces to this mixture.
- Turn the flame to medium-low to low and cook the bread to make sure it forms a crust all around with the help of the heat from the wok.
- Prabu says the key is to stir in between making sure it gets an even crust.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Vegetable Biriyani

I am not going to go into the difference between biriyani, pulao and all. I know you can easily look it up on wiki or even "google" it. So I am just going to give you my recipe of what and How I make biriyani.

Most of the dry spices can be bought in regular stores or you can even look them up in your ethnic food stores.

Depending on how mushy your rice becomes use either 6 or 8 cups of water for 4 cups of rice. Since I used sona masori rice instead of basmati, and the brand I used takes lot of water I used 8 cups. However I usually follow 1.5 cups of water per 1 cup of rice.
Rice – 4 cups dry
Water – 6 to 8 cups
Red Onions - Onions – 1.5 cups sliced
Roma Tomatoes – 2 medium chopped fine
Mixed vegetables – 1.5 cups ( mix of carrot, corn, bean, peas)
Ginger Garlic paste – 1 Tbsp.
Mint – few sprigs
Curry Leaves – 6
Green Chillies – 4
Lemon Juice – 4 Tsps.
Garam Masla – 2 Tsp.
Red Chilli Powder 1 tsp.
Salt – To taste
Butter – 2 Tbsp.
Oil – ¼ cup
Dry Masala:
Cloves – 8 (2 per cup of rice)
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
Cardamom – 4 (1 per cup of rice)
Japatri ( mace) – 2 crushed to pieces
Marathi Mogga ( badi Elaichi) – 2
Cumin Seeds – 1 Tsp.
Dry Bay Leaf - 2

Procedure:
- Wash rice and soak it in water.
- Mince curry leaves, mint and green chillies together.
- Heat butter and oil in a pan. Add all the dry masala. Fry for 30 seconds on medium flame making sure they don’t burn.
- Add curry leaves, mint and chilli mixture to this. Stir and fry for 20 seconds.
- Add onions and ginger garlic paste.
- Season with just enough salt for onions and cook till onions are soft.
- Add mixed vegetables to this. Season with salt. Cover and cook till vegetables are tender.
- Add garam masala, red chilli powder and sauté till the raw smell of hcilli powder is gone.
- Add tomatoes and lemon juice. Cover and cook till tomatoes are soft.
After this you can cook in two different ways
Procedure 1:
- Remove rice from water and add it to the cooked masala mixture. Stir till the rice grains are mixed with masala.
- Add 8 cups of water to this. Season with salt. Water should be a bit salty.
- Cover and turn the heat to high and bring it to a boil.
- Turn the flame to low and cook till rice is done. To check if you stick a spoon it should come out dry.

Procedure 2:
- Add 8 cups of water and rice together to the masala mixture instead of frying the rice first.
- Follow the rest of the steps as above.

Starting at the top from left:
Cumin seeds, bay leaf, garam masala, cardamom pods broken
cloves and cinnamon, japatri ( mace), Red Chili Powder, Marathi Mogga



Final Product - I am no food porn photographer;)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tomato Rasam or Tomato Chaaru

We call it chaaru. I think rasam came from Tamilnadu. What's in a name? Dolly keeps asking me for this recipe and I keep forgetting to post it.

There are several different versions and a million other ingredients you can use to make this. My mother in law makes it with tamarind extract, rasam powder and garlic. As simple as that.

You can make rasam powder at home. You will have to wait till I find the ingredients from the oldies. However, run to your local Indian or any grocery store that sells these instant powders and get yourself "MTR" brand rasam powder.

Ingredients:

Water - 4 cups
Tomato - 1 large chopped fine
Lemon Juice - 1 tsp.
Curry Leaves - 4 leaves
Rasam Powder - 2 Tsp.
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp.
Cumin Seeds - 1tsp.
Asafoetida( Inguva or hing) - 2 dashes
Salt - as needed
Oil - 3 tsp.

Procedure:

- Heat oil in a sauce pan. Add mustard and cumin seeds.
- Once they start poppin' out ( called spluttering;)) add hing, curry leaves. Turn the flame to medium-low now.
- Add tomatoes and cook them covered for 3 - 5 minutes till they are soft. Stir in between to make sure the tomatoes are not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add salt and rasam powder and turn the flame back on to medium to medium - high.
- Add water, stir and bring it to a boil.
- Turn the flame back on to low and let it cook for 5 minutes.

Rasam ready :)

Dosakai Pappu

Give me any vegetable and I will make a pappu put of it ( basically lentils with veggies). This one is with Dasakai. Not sure what It's called in english but that's what we call it in telugu land. I was surprised t find this vegetable in my local Asian grocery store under Japanese vegetables category with the name "Dose-Kai".Hahaha funny I know.

Anywho, my cousins were visiting this weekend and I served this pappu with Goruchikkudu kaya koora, rasam and fried vodiyalu (dried lentil fritters depp fried).

Ingredients:
Kandi pappu ( Toor Dal ) - 1 cup dry cooked with 4 cups water
Dosakai - 1 medium sized cubed.
Green Chillies - 3 - 5
Onions - 1/4 cup cubed (Optional)
Garlic - 3-4 cloves chopped roughly
Curry Leaves - 4 to 6
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp.
Turmeric - Pinch
Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp.
Salt - As needed
Oil - As needed



- If you look at the picture above, you can see that there are seeds in the center of that vegetable. Scrape that off completely and you will get something that's next to it.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard, cumin seeds. Once they start to splutter add garlic, curry leaves, green chillies and onions.
- Saute for few minutes and add the dosakai.
- Add slat and turmeric and 1/4 cup of water. Cover and cook till the veggies are tender.
- Add chilli powder and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the cooked lentils to this(you can add any extra water you have left over form cooking the lentils).
- Cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
- Uncover and cook till you get a thick stew like consistency.
- Turn off stove and serve with hot rice and some melted butter.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Goruchikkudukaya Koora (Cluster Beans Curry)

Before I start the recipe, just wanted to let you guys know that I added links to Rayalaseema and Kadapa on to the left side. Because I will keep using them a lot in my write-ups and I don't wnat you to go, "What the heck is Kadapa?" :).

Today I made this curry for lunch. Goruchikkudu is also called as mattikkayalu in Rayalaseema region. I found out that they call it cluster beans in English after I came to this country. In Hindi, It's Guvar. I used to buy them fresh but lately I realized, the frozen variety are much better and they are already pre-cut for you.

So here is a recipe that one of my neighborhood aunty use dto make in Kadapa. She used to add dried coconut powder but I did not as mom's on a diet.

Ingredients:
Cluster Beans - 1 Lb
Red Onion - 1 cup finely diced
Green Chillies - 6 (increase or decrease this per your spice level)
Garlic - 3 cloves crushed
Curry Leaves - 8
Putnala Pappu (Dhalia) - 2 Tbsp.
Senagapappu (Chana Dal) - 2 Tbsp.
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp.
Mustard Seeds - 1Tsp.
Turmeric - Pinch
Oil - as needed
Salt - Per taste



Procedure:
- Roast Senagapappu and putnala pappu.
- Grind it with green chillies and half the curry leaves.
- Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard, cumin seeds,curry leaves and garlic.
- Saute for 30 seconds and add onions.
- Season with salt and turmeric and saute till onions are soft.
- Add the beans and half cup of water.
- Cover and cook on medium to low heat till the beans are fully cooked.
- Add the ground putnalapappu powder to this and mix well.
- Saute till all the water is evaporated and beans are well mixed with the masala.

Remove from heat and serve with hot rice and some sambar or pappu.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Macaroni Salad

I am not a big fan of sugary gooey macaroni salads. So I came up with this one which uses the left over ingredients from the fried egg sandwich I created the other night. Feel free to increase, decrease, add, remove the ingredients the way you want. This is all about your personal taste and style :).

Ingredients:

Macaroni - 2 cups cooked
Onion - 4 Tbsp. minced
Tomato - 1/4 cup chopped roughly
Sun Dried Tomatoes - 1/4 cup chopped
Garlic powder - 1/4 tsp.
Dried Basil - 1/4 tsp.
Olive oil - 2 Tbsp.
Salt and freshly ground pepper - per taste

Procedure:

- Mix everything except macaroni in a bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Add macaroni. Mix well. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Fried Egg Sandwich

The quantity for ingredients below makes 4 sandwiches. Me and my familia are not a big fan of runny eggs. So the nicely cooked eggs and the sandwich. We had it with macaroni salad and pickle on the side.



Ingredients:

Whole grain bread - 8 slices
Eggs - 4 large + 2 egg whites
Onions - 1 small cut into circles
Tomato - 1 small cut into circles
Romaine Lettuce - few leaves
Mayonnaise - 1 Tbsp.
Spicy Mustard - 1 Tbsp.
Chilli Oil - dash ( optional)
Salt and pepper - per taste
Oil - as needed.



Procedure:

- In a bowl, whisk 4 eggs and the 2 egg whites with slat and pepper.
- Make an omelette with the eggs in a wide skillet. You can do individual small ones. I made one big one and cut it into 4 parts.
- Mix mayo, mustard and chilli oil.
- Toast bread and spread the mayo mixture on one or both sides as you need.
- Arrange omelette on one side and lettuce, tomatoes and onions on the other.
- cut in triangles and serve.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lemon Rice

There are 3 different ways that I make lemon rice.

- Kadapa Way with putnala pappu (Dhalia) podi and ground green chillies and ginger
- Easy way with basic popu(tadka)
- Mother in law's way with roasted ground fenugreek, mustard and cumin seeds.

Yesterday I did the easy way. Here is a picture of the ingredients.



Ingredients:

Rice - 2 cups (Uncooked)
Green Chillies - 5 cut into small pieces ( adjust this according to your spice level)
Curry leaves - 8 to 10
Ginger - 1 Tsp Grated
Senaga Pappu ( Chana dal) - 2 Tsp.
Minapappu (Urad Dal) - 2tsp.
Peanuts - 1/4 cup
Dried Red Chillies - 2
Cumin Seeds - 2 Tsp.
Mustard Seeds - 2Tsp.
Asafoetida - Pinch
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp.
Lemon Juice - 4 Tbsp. (Adjust according to your taste)
Salt - to taste
Oil - as needed

Procedure:

- Cook rice with 4 cups of water and keep aside.
- Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add mustard, cumin seeds and asafoetida.
- Add senagapappu, minapappu, dried red chillies, curry leaves and pea nuts.
- Saute them for few minutes. Once the lentils start to turn golden brown, Add green chillies, ginger and salt.
- Cook for 30 seconds. Add lemon juice and turmeric.
- Turn the flame to low and mix the cooked rice to this mixture. Adjust seasonings.

In Kadapa, they would always serve this rice with a dryish wet potato curry. Since the family is on all sorts of diet, we rarely cook potatoes. I did serve with some dondakaya fry. Recipe for it later :).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Comfort Food - Bisibela Bhaath

My colleague asked for this recipe last weekend. Since I never made it before, I came up with a recipe of how it should be made and gave it to her. She said it turned out awesome which is always nice to hear. So I decided to make it today and changed couple of things around than the original recipe but here it is.

As I mentioned earlier, anything with rice is comfort food for me. And when you add lentils and vegetables, hmmmmm.........

Note:
1. If you do not the instant bisibela bhaath mix - here are the standard ingredients that go into making the powder.
- Coriander seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, Chana dal (senagapappu/bengal gram), asafoetida, dried red chillies.

2. I bought bisibela bath mix which has tamarind pulp in it. So I did not use tamarind paste. If you buy the powder add a table spoon of tamarind extract to this.

3. I added edamame instead of green peas.

4. The mix I bought was very salty so I used very little salt. You can adjust this mix according to your taste.


Ingredients:

Toor dar/Kandi pappu ( lentils) - 1 cup dry
Rice - 1.5 cups dry
Ground nuts - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 3 slit length wise
Carrot - 1 cup cut into 1/2 inch strips
Green beans - 1 cup cut into small pieces
Edamame - 1/2 cup shelled
Corn kernels - 1/2 cup
Red pepper - 1 diced
Bisibela bath mix - 3 Tbsp - 5 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Inguva ( asafoetida) - pinch
Dried red chilli - 2
Curry leaves - 6
Salt - to taste ( the mix had salt so I used very little)
Butter - 2 tsp.
Oil - 4 tsp. +2 tsp.
Water - 1/2 to 1 cup


Procedure:
- Wash and cook lentils with 6 cups of water. If you have a pressure cooker you can use 2 cups of water and cook it for 2 whistles.
- Wash and cook rice with 4 cups of water.
- In a wide pot, heat oil and butter. Add ground nuts and fry them till they turn pale brown.
- Add green chillies and all the vegatbles.
- Season with little salt and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add 1/4 cup of water, cover and cook till vegetables are tender.
- Add the bisibela bath mix. Mix well with veggies.
- Add cooked lentils and mix well.
- Add cooked rice 1 cup of water and mix well. Make sure the heat is on medium to medium low.
- Turn the stove off and serve hot with papadams.

I served it with oven baked crinkle fries:). I will post pictures for this later tonight as the battery died while uploading them.

Edited to add: I added the picture of the veggies. I do not have any pitcures of the final product because the familia finished it off before I could take a picture of final prodcut.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Suji's Vegeterian Gumbo

I add my "Suji's" tag to any dish I create based on a traditional recipe. I have to for veggie and grocery shopping this weekend and when I checked my freezer and pantry, I had few things. After debating for 2 minutes as to what to make for dinner, here is what I came up with. I served this gumbo with brown rice. Also, I think I will add some shrimp next time ;).

Ingredients:

Cut Okra - 1lb ( I used frozen cut okra)
Ready cut diced tomatoes - One 15 OZ can
Chick Peas - One 15 oz can
White onions - 1 cup finely diced
Red bell pepper - 1 finely diced
Celery - 1/2 cup finely diced
Garlic - 3 cloves minced
Salt - to taste
Water - 1 cup
Butter - 2 tsps.
Oil - 3 Tbsp.

Seasonings:
Paprika - 1 Tbsp.
Red Chili Powder - 1.5 tsps.
Oregano - 1tsp
Rosemary - 1/2 tsp.
White pepper - pinch
Nutmeg - pinch
All spice - pinch

Procedure:

- Heat butter and oil in a skillet or wide bottomed pot.
- Add garlic, onions, celery and bell pepper. Season with slat and saute till soft.
- Add everything under seasonings and saute for one minute.
- Add the tomatoes, okra and chickpeas.
- Stir the pot or pan without using the spatula.
- Add the cup of water, adjust seasonings, cover and cook for 15 minutes on medium-low flame.
- Check in between but do not mix too much.
- Remove the lid to see okra is cooked. You will notice that okra is not sticky at all (something about canned tomatoes sourness).
- Now cook on high for a minute or two till you get a thick consistency.

Remove form heat and serve over hot brown rice.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Penne Alla Vodka and Curried eggs

I committed a crime last night. You see, I swore I will never do anything to original Italian recipes. Oh well I lost it last night. I got too creative. Granted it wasn't a perfect match but the dish was good. And no, I don't make my sauces from scratch all the time. Especially anything that involves liquor like Vodka. I have alcoholics in the house who will finish those before I get the bottles to the kitchen ;).

I pressure cooked beaten eggs. If you do not have a pressure cooker you can cook these eggs in frittata style.

Ingredients:

Whole wheat penne pasta - 2 cups dry
Vodka Sauce - 1 heaping cup
Large Eggs - 3
Egg whites - from 3 eggs
Onions - 1/2 cup sliced thin
Olive oil - 1tsp + as needed for pasta
Curry Powder - 1 tsp. ( I bought Mccormicks brand)
Garlic powder - 1/4 tsp.
Red Chili flakes - per taste
Salt - as needed
Freshly ground pepper - per taste
Butter - to coat a pan

Procedure:

- Beat eggs, egg whites with curry powder, garlic powder, slat and pepper, 1 tsp. olive oil till well blended.
- Transfer this into a butter coated vessel and pressure cook for about 15 minutes till cooked.
- Loosen the edges of the vessel and transfer it into a plate. After cooked it should look something like below. Cut it into bite size pieces and keep aside.



- Mean while, cook the pasta according to package instructions with oil and salt. When the pasta is 3/4ths cooked, heat oil in a wide skillet.
- Add red chili flakes, onion slices and suate till onions are golden brown. Season them with salt.
- Add the steam cooked egg pieces to this and saute for 30 seconds, remove form the pan and keep aside.
- Bring the pan back on to the stove and heat the vodka sauce. If the sauce looks too thick add 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water to it.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well for a minute or to.

- Transfer the pasta into a bowl and add the curried egg on top.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Black Bean and Corn Salad

My grocery store carries black beans which are brown in color. Don't ask, they are just dark brown but the can says black beans. Whatever.

I made this salad for my mom as she eats only salads for lunch now a days. Dressing is very very easy too. If you do not have balsamic vinegar, just use regular lemon juice.

Ingredients:


Black Beans - 1 can ( 8 Oz)
Corn Kernels - 1 cup ( If using frozen kernels, microwave them for 1 minute)
Tomatoes - 1/2 cup seeded and diced fine
Red Bell Pepper - 1/2 cup diced fine
Yellow Bell Pepper - 1/2 cup diced fine
Red Onion - 1/2 cup diced fine
Jalapeno - 1 seeded and diced

Balsamic Vinegar - 2Tbsp.
Olive oil - 1 tsp.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste

Procedure:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and serve chilled :).

So easy even a caveman can do it;)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Chicken Curry - Part One

There are a gazillion ways to make chicken curry. None of them involve curry powder event hough it's called a curry. You can play with your spices with these curries. Here is my try for today. This is a little gravyish curry. You can have it with roti or hot rice.

The red chili powder I use is very very spicy. You can adjust the quantity depending on your taste palate :).

Ingredients:

Chicken - 2 lbs - Boneless and skinless cut into bite size pieces
Ginger and garlic paste - 1 tsp.
Yogurt - 3 Tbsp.
Lemon Juice - 1 tsp.
Turmeric - 1/2 + 1/2 Tsp.
Red chili Powder - 2 tsp.
Garam Masala - 1 tsp.

- Marinate chicken in above spices. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Mean while, get your other ingredients ready.

Grind to paste:
Coconut- 1/2 cup grated (I used frozen grated coconut)
Green chillies - 2
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup
Coriander Seeds - 1 tsp.
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp.
Cinnamon Stick - size shown in the picture :)
Cloves - 7
Cardamom - 3
Water - 1/3 cup


For the curry:
Red Onions - 2 cups finely diced
Tomato - 1 medium finely diced
Red chili Powder - 2 tsp.
Turmeric - pinch
Oil - as needed
Salt - to taste

Procedure:

Heat oil in a thick bottomed dish. Saute onions till golden brown with little salt.
Add red chili powder and turmeric and saute for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, chicken, the ground coconut paste and mix well. Add1/3 cup of water. Cover and cook on medium flame till chicken is tender. Remove the lid, season with enough salt and cook till you get a thick gravy. Turn of the stove and serve hot.

I used a pressure cooker because meat comes out much tender when cooked in it. You could cover and let it cook for 1 whistle.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

One more of Jaden's dish ( or is it Jeremy's)

Jaden goes to extreme lengths to get certain recipes (you know dating guys from different countries). When she doesn't get a recipe from the guy directly she harasses his wife to get it for her :). This is one such recipe and boy am I glad she took the trouble to get it. Here is her recipe for Dukkah.

I decided to try it simply because it has two of my favorite ingredients: Chili flakes and garlic powder. I didn't have malden salt so I used regular salt. I modified the quantity a bit because I didn't want to make a pound of dukkah as we are leaving for a 5 week trip soon. And I also used this on a different vegetable. I used what in English is called bottle gourd. It's called Louki in hindi, anapakaya or sorakaya in telugu. You can get it in any Asian store.

Ingredients:

Anapakaya - 4 cups - diced
Oil - as needed
Salt - to taste.


For Dukkah:


Almonds - 1 cup toasted in the oven at 375 degrees
Cumin seeds - 1 Tbsp toasted
Chili flakes - 1 Tbsp.
Garlic Powder - 1/2 Tbsp.
Lemon Zest - pinch - dried in the oven

- Grind them all into fine powder and keep it in an air-tight container.




Procedure:

Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add the anapakaya pieces. Season with salt. Cover lid and cook on medium-low heat for 3 to 5 minutes. remove the lid off and cook till the pieces are tender but not too mushy. Sprinkle 2 Table spoons of the dukkah on the vegetables and turn the stove off. Mix well and check taste. If you are like me who just falls in love with the dukkah because it smells so good, add 2 more Tbsp.:).

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Jaden's Silver Noodles

I am addicted to Steamy Kitchen. I am so close to stalking her and her blog :). When she posted my favorite noodle recipe, I had to try it at home. It came out very good except I forgot to add spinach. Here is her recipe.

It took me so long to try it because I had to go get me that julienne peeler first. Prabu tried, "I can cut them for you like that without the peeler." No thanks hon, I haz my peeler ;).

Verdict from the family is that I should include these noodles on my menu rotation. Now Prabu is hoping, I will try different things on the menu when we go out instead of ordering glass noodles every time.

Here are the sad pictures :).

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Cooking for the week

I had a lovely day today (Check the details here). So I decided to end it by cooking and prepping some meals for the week. After V went to bed around 8 at night I started cooking. I was done by 11 pm and mom helped me clean up.

I don't have recipes for everything yet but here's what I made.

1. Menthaaku Pappu ( Lentils with Fenugreek Leaves)
2. Beerakaya Pappu (Moong Dal with Chinese Okra)
3. Sambar
4. Rasam
5. Carrot with fenugreek leaves
6. Zucchini Curry
7. Long Beans stir fry

And tomorrow, I have 5 more things to cook, and prep some more. Will post recipes and pictures soon.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Maggi Noodles

My cousin Vittal called me couple of weeks ago asking for this recipe because my nephew wanted it for dinner :). I gave him the recipe on the phone and I thought I would share it here.

These are like Indian version of Ramen Noodles. They recently came up with whole what noodles with sambar tastemaker. I tried that variety today and boy was it good. You can use frozen mixed vegetables if you want but I used fresh ones today. I used a big carrot but use small or medium.

Ingredients:
Maggi noodles - big pack ( has 4 sets of noodles)
Water - 3 cups
Carrot - 1 small diced
Green beans - 1/3 cup cut into small pieces
Corn Kernels - Handful
Napa cabbage - 4 leaves chopped
Onions - 1/4 cup
Zuchhini - 1/4 cup diced
Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp.
Red Chili powder - 1 tsp.
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Oil - 3 tsp.


Procedure:
Bring water to a boil in a deep vessel. Add the noodles and taste maker and cook till noodles soak up all the water and are soft to touch. Mix well so that the tastemaker masala gets into the noodles ( don't over do it though)

Heat oil in a wide skillet . Add cumin, garlic and red chili powder.
Add onions, and all other vegetables. Season with salt.
Cover and cook on medium-low flame for 5 - 8 minutes till the veggies are soft.
Once the vegetables are cooked, add the noodles to this mixture.
Mix well so that noodles and veggies are blended in.
Check for seasonings.
Serve hot.

My parents like to use ketchup on the side with this but let me tell you that using ketchup on this dish is a crime in my book. It tastes great just the way it is. Add hot sauce or something if you want but not ketchup. It ruins the whole taste. Also Prabu likes chips with it for the crunch factor :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Pictures

At the request of a dear friend I am going to slowly add pictures to the dishes I make. I suck at taking pictures and I blame my camera. I have put in a request at Husbandville for a new and NICE camera (did someone say SLR?). I expect it to arrive in 2 - 4 years. So please bear with these pictures till then. If you cannot wait that long then please flood my husband's inbox by requesting him to comply to my request

~Sincerely
Suji ;)

Comfort Food - Tomato Pappu

There is something really soothing about a big bowl of hot rice, tomato pappu, neyyi(clarified butter/ghee) and some Andhra avakaya. I get the avakaya from my aunt ( Mom's elder sister) in India with an appadam on the side. She makes it the best and none of these store bought ones give that taste.

Let's get to the tomato pappu recipe. It's super simple. I use roma tomatoes for this because they give slightly tangy taste compares to the beefsteak variety.

Serves 4
Ingredients:
Kandi Pappu(toor dal) - 1/2 cup
Roma Tomatoes - 3 diced into big chunks.
Onions - 1/4 cup diced into big chunks
Green Chillies - 3 sliced length wise
Garlic - 3 cloves crushed
Salt - To taste
Turmeric - pinch
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp - 1tsp ( depending on your palate)
Oil - as needed

For Popu:
Curry leaves - 4
Dried red chillies - 2
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp.
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp.
Inguva ( Asafoetida) - pinch

Procedure:

- Wash the lentils and pressure cook it with 2 cups of water, tomatoes and green chillies for one whistle.
- If you do not have a pressure cooker. Cook just the lentils in a pot and add tomatoes and chillies to the pan in the next step.
- Heat oil in a wide wok. Add the popu ingredients. Once the mustard seeds start sputtering, add garlic and onions and saute till onions are soft.
-Add the cooked lentil, tomato and chillies to this.
-Add salt, turmeric and red chilli powder.
- Check for seasonings and cook on medium-low till you get a thick soup like consistency but not too watery.
-Remove from heat and serve it with hot rice.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Kotthu Porotta a.k.a Kitchen Sink

First about Kotthu porotta - I had this first time in Chennai after my wedding. It's basically a porotta or thick chapathi or bread which is cooked and then cut into pieces and cooked with any assortment of vegetables, egg and meat. The restaurant I went to had like 10 different varieties. Egg, peppers, onion, chillies, chicken, lamb - you name it , they got it. Prabu then explained to me that it was actually a street food gone high end. You still see those road side places in India doing this on a big wide pan and the guy will be killing it with 2 big spatulas. It's very very tasty though.

The reason I call this kitchen sink is very simple. There is this Vietnamese place on plainfield avenue in New Jersey that sells a dish called Kitchen Sink :). It basically has noodles, shrimp roll, vegetables, meat and anything you can imagine ( except Palmolive soap). Sounds nasty to call something a kitchen sink but hey that's what it is. Mix of everything.

Here is my recipe to the Indian Kitchen Sink. I use store bought frozen porottas. You can just microwave them for a minute or two and they are good to go. You have to be careful in picking these up. They are not naan, or rotis. They are slightly thicker almost like a roti canai. They are also called malaysian porottas. They are very flaky and multi layered.

When I use fancy word like Julienned I mean, thin slices length wise;)

Ingredients:

Porottas - 4 shredded to pieces by hand
Onions - 1 small white onion thinly sliced length wise
Green bell pepper - 1 julienned
Red bell pepper - 1 julienned
Tomato - 1 medium sliced thin
Eggs - 3 large beaten with salt and pepper
Curry leaves - 6
Green chillies - 3 slit length wise
Sambar Powder - 1 tsp.
Slat - to taste
Oil - as needed

Procedure:

Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add green chillies and curry leaves.

After 30 seconds add onions and peppers. Mix in salt and saute till the vegetables are soft.

Add tomatoes and cook till tomatoes wilt.

Add the sambar powder and saute for 2 minutes.

Stir in egg and cook till you don't see any runniness from eggs ( I like my eggs well cooked. no watery stuff for me )

Add the shredded porottas and mix until they are well blended.

Eat hot :).

Monday, September 24, 2007

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I am very disappointed in me for not trying this vegetable years ago. I cooked it first time today and boy was it good. This is definitely going on my veggie shopping list and will be on top. This is so easy to make.

Ingredients

Brussel sprouts - 1 lb washed, trimmed and quartered ( you get 4 pieces out of one)
Olive oil - 1/4 cup
Coarsley ground mustard - 1 Tbsp.
Dijon Mustard - 1 tsp.
Red Chilli Powder - 1 tsp.
Black pepper - 1/2 tsp. freshly ground
Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric - pinch
Salt - to taste

Procedure

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Wash the brussel sprouts, trim edges and cut them into quarters. In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix well. Add the brussel sprouts to this mixture and mix till the veggies are completely coated with the marinate.

Transfer them into a roasting pan and into the oven they go for 25 - 35 minutes. Check in between to turn them around so they get brown on all sides.

Mom and I added these in to the pre-made greek salad we bought from costco. It was delicious.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Kichdi

My first memory of Kichdi is eating it hot off the stove when I was in my 10th grade and falling in love with it :) ( yup I love my food and have a great relationship with them;)). My aunt (Dad's Cousin) who was visiting us made it and it really was yummy.

So today I made it for the first time and I have to say I am in love again;). You can add any kind of vegetables you want. Also, try to use fresh ginger and garlic and not those jar stuff. Here is the recipe for another one pot dish.

Ingredients

Rice - 1.5 Cups washed
Split yellow lentils ( moong dal or pesarappu) - 1/2 cup soaked in water for 30 to 40 minutes
White Onions - 4 Tbsp. diced small
Napa Cabbage - 3 leaves chopped fine
Orange bell pepper - 1 diced fine
Green Peas - 1/4 cup
Ginger - 1 tsp. minced
Garlic - 1tsp. minced
Green chillies - 3 slit length wise ( you can add more if you want more spicy)
Curry Leaves - 4
Water - 3 cups
Salt - To taste
Turmeric - pinch
Oil - 4 Tsp.
Butter - 1Tbsp.
Dry masala ( to be ground to fine powder)
Cumin - 1/2 tsp.
Coriander Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cloves - 3
Cardamom - 1
Cinnamon Stick - 1/2 inch
Bay leaves - 2 dried

Procedure:
Heat oil and butter in a wide 5 quart pan.
Add green chillies, curry leaves, ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
Add onions and saute till soft.
Add the peppers, cabbage and peas. Season with enough salt and cook till veggies are soft.
Add turmeric and the ground masala. Fry for 1 minute.
Add the lentils and mix well. Add half cup of water and cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in between.
Wash and add the rice and mix.
Add the remaining 2.5 cups of water. Bring to a bowl. Lower the flame, cover and cook till rice is completely done and there is no water left.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Comfort Food - One Pot Chicken Biryani

I was raised in kadapa. My dad used to bring home this awesome chicken biryani home when I was growing up there. It was and is still the best biryani I have ever had.After 12 years of cooking, I have finally came up with a biryani recipe that is very darn close to taste as to the one I had in kadapa. So here is my one pot chicken biryani recipe. If you have a pressure cooker, use it. If not you can use a 5 quart pan. However, note that I use pressure cooker only to cook chicken but I do not cook the rice in the cooker with the whistle on.

Home made garam masala tastes much better than store bought one.

One pot Chicken Biryani

Ingredients:

Mainate:
Chicken - 2 lbs boneless
Lemon Juice - 1 Tbsp.
Red Chilli Powder - 1 tsp.
Turmeric - pinch

Rice – Uncooked – 3 cups
Onions – 1 large – cut into thin slices
Tomatoes – 2 medium - sliced thin
Green Chillies – 3 slit length wise
Curry leaves – 6 minced
Mint leaves -1/2 cup minced
Coriander leaves– 1/2 cup minced
Ginger and Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – 1 Tbsp
Red chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Water – 4.5 cups
Salt to taste
Oil as needed
Butter – 1 Tbsp.

Dry Masala:
Bay leaf – 3
Cloves – 6
Cinnamon stick – 2 inch stick
Whole peppercorn – 4
Cardamom – 5
Cumin – 1/2 tsp
Black Cardamom ( Marathi mogga) - 1 piece
Javitri ( Mace) - 1 crushed to powder

Procedure:

Marinate the chicken over night or at least for an hour before cooking.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker with 1 Tbsp butter. Add the dry masala. Fry for 30 seconds to one minute. Do not burn them.

Add chillies, curry, mint and coriander leaves. Stir for a minute. Add
onions and saute till onions turn soft brown color.

Add ginger and garlic paste, salt, garam masala and red chilli powder and stir for
2 minutes. Add tomatoes to this and cook till they become soft.

Add the chicken and mix well. Season with salt enough for the chicken. Add half cup of water and put the lid on. Once the pressure comes out, put the whistle on for the pressure cooker and cook for one whistle and turn the stove off.

Let it rest till the whistle comes out without having to use any force. Remove the lid and turn the stove back on.

Add remaining water and rice and bring it to a boil. Mix and check for salt. Turn the flame to low and cook covered with a regular lid till rice is completely cooked.

If the cooked biryani seems sticky or mushy - take it out of the pan and spread it into a cookie or baking pan and let it sit in the oven for 10 minutes at 150 degrees.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Comfort Food - Tomato Rice

Hmmmmm... This is the best thing that my mom taught me. It might seem like blah to some but this is my all time favorite food. Here is the recipe for it that I posted earlier.

I love it with the spiced eggs and or potato chips. It's so easy to make too and very few ingredients. Try and see for yourself.

Comfort Food

I will add new recipes in the comfort food series. These are things I make for myself when I use food as comfort. I love to have them when I am watching my favorite tv shows, or working or just reading ;). And most of them are recipes including rice or pasta :)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

7 bean and barley soup

We have this store called Sunflower near us. It's awesome in my books. They have the best vegetables and fruits and lot of unique organic and healthy stuff too. The one thing that I found unique ( which I haven't noticed in stores in NJ ) is that they have open groceries for lentils and flours, pasta, and what not. It's like a traditional Indian market, where they have jute bags full of goodies for you to pick the quantity you want.

They had these different kids of things for soups and stuff. Beans, Chili Mix, Vegetable stock powder and all. So I picked up the 7 bean and barley mix.

- I usually add elbow macaroni to my soups but this time I didn't add pasta to the soup. Instead I picked up some rice vermicelli from Asian store. What I did was this? Add some raw vermicelli in the soup bowl and pour hot soup on it. Wait for 30 seconds and the noodles will be perfectly cooked and it gives you time to cool the soup own. You don't want to burn your tongue:).

- You can also play with the kind of veggies you want. I usually add spinach and mushrooms too if it's just for me.

Ingredients:

7 beans and barley mix - 1/2 cup soaked for 4 hours minimum in water
Onions - 1/4 cup diced small
Carrot - 2 chopped roughly into medium size pieces
Celery - 3 chopped roughly into small pieces
Green beans - 12 cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Vegetable Stock - 14 oz can
Water - 2 cups
Red pepper flakes - 1 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Garlic Powder - 1 tsp.
Olive Oil - 1 Tbsp.

Procedure:

Pressure cook the beans for up tp 2 whistles. If you do not have pressure cooker, soak the beans over night and cook them in a stock pot with enough salt.

Heat oil in a pot. Add chilli flakes and Garlic powder. Stir for 20 seconds. Add onions, carrot, celery and saute till soft with enough salt. Add the stock and water. Add the cooked beans and barley . Add green beans ( that way they are not too mushy). Cover and bring it to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with noodles.

If you are going to add spinach, do it close to turning the stove off. That way it stays bright green.

Zucchini Curry

I never used Zucchini in making Indian curries. I used it only for soups. So tonight I had to make a curry to go with the naans we bought from Trader Joe's. When I opened the fridge I found Zucchini and napa cabbage so I hit the Z.

- You don't have to peel the skin of the Z
- Before you dice them cut each piece into 4 halves and take the center part that looks like it has tiny seeds out. It's easy with a paring knife or even a steak knife.

Ingredients:

Zucchini - 3 diced
Shallots - 1 cut length wise
Tomato - 1 small cut length wise
Garlic - 2 cloves chopped roughly
Coriander - leaves from 3 - 4 sprigs
Roasted Peanuts - 1/4
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric - pinch
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 + 2 tea spoons
Water - 1/2 cup

Procedure:

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a pan. Add shallots and garlic and saute till slightly brown. DO not burn the garlic. Add coriander, turmeric, salt and the peanuts. Stir for 3 minutes. Turn the stove off. Add the tomatoes to this and cover with a lid and let it cool down. Once it's at a temperature where you can touch it with your hand without burning ;) grind it to a smooth paste.

Heat the 2 more teaspoons of oil in a pan. Add the zucchini and saute till the Z's start to form a light brown coat. Add salt enough for the veggies and stir for few minutes. Add red chilli powder and suate till the raw flavor of the chilli powder is lost. Add the ground peanut and shallot mixture to this. Add 1/2 cup of water, set the flame to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and serve with naans :).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Beans with Almonds

Mom and I are on a diet. Doctor told her she has to get her wight down a little. So I told her, I will be her personal chef and also be her partner, so she doesn't feel alone :).

She is a vegetarian. All these years she kept eating rice and stuff for lunch. So we cut down the rice. She now has organic whole wheat roti with curry and pappu(lentils). I also cut down the amount of oil I use in my cooking. Today I made steamed green beans with almonds ( I read that almonds are good to lower your cholesterol and have protein in them).

Ingredients:

Green beans - 3 cups cut in 1/2 inch pieces
Almonds - 12 slivered
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp.
Senagapappu (Chana Dal) - 1 tsp.
Turmeric - Pinch
Red Chilli Flakes - 1 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp.

Procedure:

STeam the green beans till they are tender and set aside. Heat oil in a saute pan. Add mustard seeds, senagapappu, turmeric, red chilli flakes. Once mustard seeds start to splutter, add the almonds and saute for 30 seconds. Add green beans. Season with salt and cook for few minutes.

This actually tasted nice by itself:).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Random Inspiration

I went to Kitchen Classics this weekend. It's a store that carries all things related to cooking, baking and what not. I was like a kid in a candy store. I finally got my stainless steel cookie pan.

Prabu bought a sandwich maker a week before.

So what did we do together? He made sandwiches with qholw grain bread and plain omelette and I made a spread (chutney) to go with it with Pasilla peppers and tomatillos.

Cauliflower Curry or Cauliflower Pulusu

We had Saritha and Som for dinner last friday. Mom and I decided on Poori, Curry and salad. I made the Semi-Mexican salad and came up with a new gravy dish.Here is the recipe for it.

- I roasted Cauliflower because I am not a big fan of mushy cauliflower.
- Surprisingly this recipe doesn't have any onions, ginger or garlic.
- It might seem like a lot of ingredients but these are all staples of Indian cuisine and trust me this curry is worth all the ingredients.

Ingredients:

Cauliflower - 3 cups of florets
Tomatoes - 1/2 cup chopped fine
Coconut - 1/2 cup grated ( you can use fresh or frozen)
Tamarind juice - 2 Tbsp.
Dried red Chillies - 3
Coriander Seeds - 1 tbsp.
Curry Leaves - 8
Fennel Seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 1tsp.
Inguva ( hing or asafoetida) - pinch
Salt - To taste
Turmeric - Pinch
Oil - As needed
Water - 1/2 cup

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix cauliflower, bit of oil, tad bit of salt in a bowl. Spread this on a cookie sheet or roasting pan and bake it in the oven for 15 minutes or until the florets are just tender. Keep aside.

Roast fennel, fenugreek, coriander seeds, red chillies. Grind this with coconut, tomatoes, salt, inguva, turmeric, curry leaves and tamarind juice.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the ground mixture and stir for few minutes. Add the cauliflower florets, water and cook covered for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for few minute still the gravy thickens.

tastes awesome with rice or poori.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Semi-Mexican Salad

I made this salad last night. Was a hit with my dad. I am specifically mentioning my dad because he hardly eats salads and when he does it's because he thinks he has no choice:). It's semi - Mexican because it has beans and taco seasoning :).

- you can add any kind of cooked beans you like.
- I used frozen corn that I microwaved for 2 minutes

Ingredients:
Corn - 1 cup
Black beans - 1.5 cups or one 14 oz can washed and drained
Mango - 2cups finely diced
Cucumber - 1 seedless finely diced
Olives - chopped roughly ( optional)

For Dressing:
Lemon juice - 2 Tbsp.
Salt and pepper - as needed
Balsamic Vinegar - 1/2 tsp.
Taco Seasoning - 1.5 tsp. ( store bought)

Procedure:

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour on top of the salad right before serving.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Desert. Me. Nooo.

I never baked anything sweet in my life till I saw Ina Garten on food tv. I have been religiously making her cookies every time we finish them.

Today I made a Blueberry cobbler. Why would I do such a thing? because I found this super nice blog lady who showed me how super easy it is. Here is the recipe from the pioneer woman cooks. I didn't have blackberries so I used fresh blueberries instead and instead of one baking dish, I used the new ramekins I bought from Tuesday Morning. You know a girl's gotta justify her purchases once in a while.

Speaking of other food blogs, do check Ms.Jaden at Steamy Kitchen. Please enter at your own risk ;). No, not because she uses the word fart and boobs on her food blog but because she's got negative calorie cakes and other yummy goodies on her site. And I do love me some food porn ( get your brain out of gutter now).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Party Menu

This was our Anna Prasana luncheon menu.

- Punukulu ( deep fried fritters made with dosa batter, onions and green chillies)
- Whole wheat rotis
- Vangi Bath
- Panchkuti Dal with tomatillo
- Beans and edamame curry
- Potato Fry
- Gooseberry Chutney
- Plain Rice
- Curd Rice
- Mango Kesari


I will follow up with recipes soon :).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chicken Chalna or Salna

I don't know what the exact pronunciation or the correct spelling is but who cares. i made it and it was goood. I think I am getting rid of store bought garam masala from my spice rack and going with making my own spice blends :).

I was looking up some websites for Tamil Cuisine and came across this recipe. As usual, read the recipe and did my own thing :P. It came out gravyish and was good with bread and/ rice

Ingredients:

Chicken - 1.5 lbs cubed
Onion - 1 large
Tomato - 1 small
Coconut Milk - 1 cup
lemon juice - 1 tsp
Ginger and garlic paste - 1 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1 Tbsp
Cloves - 5
Coriander Seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon Stick - 1 inch
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - pinch
Oil - as needed

Procedure:
Marinate the chicken with lemon juice, ginger and garlic paste and turmeric for an hour.

Mean while mince onion and tomato in a food processor.
Roast fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cloves and cinnamon in a skillet and grind to fine powder.

Heat oil in a deep skillet. Saute the onion and tomato mixture till oil starts to seperate. Add the ground masala, red chilli powder and salt. Saute for few more minutes and add coconut milk. Stir for few minutes and add chicken. Cover and cook till chicken is all the way cooked. Check for seasoning.

If you have a pressure cooker, make this whole curry in it and after you add the chicken, cover and pressure cook for one whistle. The chicken come sout much more soft when cooked in a pressure cooker.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Really! You cook cucumbers?

Yes, I do cook cucumbers instead of eating them just in salads or raw. I usually make lentil stew or a quick stir fry but decided to do something different tonight. I needed to whip up quick dinner and I had onions, peppers and some left over cucumbers in my fridge and frozen rice noodles in the freezer. The result? Check it out.

Ingredients:
Pack of frozen rice noodles - This variety is the one I picked up in Indian grocery store. It's called idiappam ;)
Red onion - 1/4 cup chopped fine
Green bell peppers - 1/4 cup chopped fine
Cucumber - 1/4 cup chopped fine
Green chillies - 2 minced
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - pinch
Turmeric - pinch
Paprika - 1 tsp.
salt - to taste
Lemon Juice - 1 tsp.
oil - as needed

Procedure:
Heat oil ina pan. Add cumin, Asafoetida, turmeric, paprika, and green chillies. After 30 seconds, add onion, peppers and cucumber.Add salt and saute till veggies are soft. Add lemon juice and thawed or defrosted noodles. Mix and serve hot.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I am in love

with the cookies I made today ;). I cannot get enough of it. They are not some exotic master pieces. Just plain sugar and butter cookies. However, it's the first time I made a cookie in my life from scratch. Also, the recipe calls for a Kitchen aid mixer. I didn't have one. I used a food processor instead and it worked fine.

Also, I hand rolled the cookies. Didn't use a rolling pin or a cookie cutter. More power to me;).

Recipe by Ina Garten.


I love her food. She makes everything doable and easy to follow. I even ordered her cookbook and waiting patiently for it's arrival:).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Spicy Broccoli Roti

I got creative today. To go with the pancharatna dal, I made some spicy Broccoli rotis. We had it with the dal, plain yogurt and some freshly sliced sweet mangoes.

Ingredients:

To make the curry
Red Onion - 1 small cut length wise
Plum tomato - 1 cut length wise
Frozen Broccoli cuts - 1 cup
Jalapeño - 1 chopped fine
Ginger and garlic paste - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
turmeric - pinch
Salt - to taste
Sugar - a dash
Oil - as needed

Procedure:

Heat oil in a pan. Add the jalapeño and onions and saute them till onions are soft. Add ginger and garlic paste, tomatoes and broccoli cuts. Add 1/4 cup of water and cook them covered till broccoli pieces are soft. Remove the lid, add the chili powder, turmeric, salt and sugar. Saute for few minutes and turn the stove off. Let this mixture cool

To make the rotis:
Whole wheat flour - 2 to 3 cups
Olive oil - 1/8 cup
Salt - to taste
Water - 1/8 cup

In a food processor, add the curry and pulse till smooth adding olive oil and water while pulsing. Add the dough blade to this and mix in the whole wheat flour till it comes to the consistency of a roti mix or pizza dough but not too liquidy.

Knead the dough in a mixing bowl and using a roller pin make small rotis. Heat them on roti pan using oil or ghee. Serve hot.

Panchkuti, Panchvati or Pancharatna - You pick

In my 12 years of cooking ( yes I started cooking at 14), I haven't liked someone's recipes so much that I tried more than one of them. I have quiet a few personal favorite chefs and recipe book authors that I like. I own quiet a few recipe books. But I read them like novels and never make dishes to the T. But as I mentioned in my earlier posts, this food blog got me in a wrap. I keep going back to it for it's simple steps and the different ways that she makes them. The blog is KajalDreams and she shares her Gujarati Cuisine.

I have improvised on her stuffed baby potatoes and I also made the Daal Dhokli and my people were quiet surprised and loved it. Today I made her Panchkuti Daal. Mom asked me what it's called and I said Panchkuti but I wnated to cal it Pancharatna and mom thought I said Panchvati. LOL. Very funny mom!

Basically the recipe uses 5 different kinds of lentils. I made few changes. Here is my version. I used pressure cooker t
o cook the dals. If you do not have one. Then soak the lentils for an hour and then cook them directly in a pot with 3 cups of water. Add warm water in between till the lentils are cooked through.

Ingredients:
Yellow Moong dal - 4 Tbsp
Green Moong Dal - 4 Tbsp
Toor Dal - 4 Tbsp
Chana Dal - 4 Tbsp
Masoor Dal - 4 Tbsp
Green Chillies - 2 chopped fine
Shallots - 2 chopped length wise
Plum tomatoes - 2 chopped fine
Juice of one lime
Garlic - 3 cloves minced
Ginger - 1 tsp grated
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - as needed
Water - 4 cups +1 cup

Procedure:

Mix the dals in a vessel, wash and pressure cook them for 2 whistles with 4 cups of water.

In a deep sauce pan, heat oil and add mustard and cumin seeds. Once they start spluttering add shallots, green chillies, ginger and garlic. Add turmeric and enough salt for the onions and saute till onions are translucent. Make sure you have enough oil in the pan, so that you are not burning the ginger or garlic.
Add red chili powder and stir for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook them covered for 30 seconds to one minute.

Add the cooked dal, lemon juice, cup of water and cook them covered for 10 to 15 minute son low flame. Check in between to make sure the dal is not sticking to the pan. Remove the lid and stir it to see it's not too watery. Once it comes to a stew like consistency turn it off. Goes well with rice or rotis.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Goddess Chicken ;)

Well, when you marinate the chicken in a goddess salad dressing and cook you get goddess chicken;).

This was our Sunday lunch. Goddess Chicken, Italian Herb Pilaf, Medley of Artichokes, potatoes and broccoli.


Goddess Chicken:

Ingredients:

Chicken - 1 lb cut into bite size pieces
For the marinade:
Goddess salad dressing ( this is kind of a Asian dressing with soy sauce, tahini and all). You can add Italian too if you want - 1/4 cup
Paprika - 1 Tbsp.

For the stir-fry:
Green and orange peppers - 1 cup julienned
Red onions - 1 cup julienned
Galric - 4 cloves minced
Red chilli flakes - 1 tsp.
Vegetable broth - 1/4 cup
Balsamic Vinegar - 2 Tbsp.
Olive oil - as needed
Salt and pepper - to taste

Procedure:
Marinade the chicken over night.

Heat oil in a wide pan. Add the garlic, onions, peppers and saute till soft. Add chicken, broth and cook till chicken is well done. Add salt and pepper.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the pan into a serving dish.

Bring the pan back to heat. Add one Tbsp of water and the balsamic vinegar. Reduce it for 5 minutes. Turn the stove off and add the vinegar to the chicken.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Stuffed baby Potatoes

I read plenty of food blogs for inspiration. I sneak into them just to look at the pictures. I don't put any pictures on this blog because, well, it's just too time consuming for me. I do appreciate everyone else who do it.

Lately i find myself peeking into this blog more often. I never knew Gujarati cuisine could be so interesting and different. I got inspired by her stuffed vegetables and did this today for lunch.

I made the Berbere spice mix over the weekend for the Ethiopian Chicken dish I made. I have been using that a lot. If you think it's time consuming you can just do it with some paprika and garam masala too.

You can use regular white baby potatoes but I had a bag of colored ( red, white and purple) potatoes that I picked up from Trader Joe's over the weekend, so I used that.

Ingredients:
Baby potatoes - 8
Besan ( bengal gram dal) - 3 Tbsp.
Peanut powder - 1 Tbsp.
Berbere Powder - 1 tsp.
Garlic Powder - 1tsp.
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp.
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp.
Salt - per taste
Oil - as needed
Water - 1.5 cups
Turmeric - pinch

Procedure:

Mix besan, peanut powder, berbere, garlic pwder, turmeric, salt in a bowl.

Wash and pat dry the potatoes and make slits. Make sure you don't cut the potato all the way through. Stuff the potatoes with the mix.

Heat oil in a pan and add cumin and mustard seeds. Add the potatoes with slit side up and lower the flame to minimum.
Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add water to the leftover spice mix and pour it into the pan. stir for few seconds and cook the potatoes on low for 15 minutes. Turn the stove off once the potatoes are cooked all the way through.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

LOLOL

I am just laughing at myself for even thinking of making something like this. I have no name for this yet. This dish is going as Prabu's lunch tomorrow. I will let you know how it turns out tomorrow;).

Ingredients:
Cooked Rice - 2 cups
Turnip - 1 small chopped fine
Purple Potato - 1 small chopped fine
Chili Oil - 1 Tbsp.
Garlic Powder - 1 tsp
Bay leaf - 1
Soy sauce - 1 tsp
Berbere Spice powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

Procedure:

Heat chili oil in a pan. Add bay leaf and the vegetables. Add salt and saute them till soft. Add garlic powder, berbere powder and soy sauce and stir for few minutes. Add the cooked rice and mix well. Simple and fast lunch eh!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Mango Shortcake

I decided to do an eggless mango cake because I wanted to use up the mango pulp I had. I got the recipe from a vegan website too. However, the plan changed as soon as I walked into the kitchen. Instead of pulling the flour, the butter, the baking soda and all, I decided to use the store bought pancake mix I had. I looked up the box and voila, it had a recipe for strawberry shortcake. Instead of strawberries, I used mangoes :) and I didn't even need a measuring cup.

Ingredients:

Bisquick Pancake Mix
Mango pulp
Ripe Mango - cut into thin slices

Procedure:

You can bake the cake as per the instructions on the box but this is what I did.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
Sift the pancake mix and mix just enough mango pulp into it so that the end consistency is smooth but not runny.

Grease a bread pan or a cake pan and pour the batter in and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. If you stick a toothpick in it should come out dry. Then you know its done. Cool it on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile for the sauce: Heat a thick bottomed sauce pan and add the cut mango pieces and 1/2 cup of mango pulp to it. Let it come to a boil. Stir in between. Turn the heat off.

In a dessert plate, arrange a cut piece of cake and pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of the sauce with mango pieces on top.

You can also add whipped cream or serve the warm cake with sauce and cold mango sorbet.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Chicken 65 balls

I got minced chicken from my favorite super market and played around in my head as to what to do with it. First thought of making spaghetti with chicken meat balls but instead opted out for an appetizer. This was so fast to whip up. If you do not have store bought chicken 65 masala you can just add red chili powder, paprika, garam masala and some salt. The masala I used was brought here by sweet mother in law from India.

Ingredients:
Ground Chicken - 1 lb
Chicken 65 masala - 2 Tbsp.
Lemon Juice - 1 tsp.
Dried pudina - pinch
Besan or chick pea flour - 2 Tbsp. ( You can substitute with all purpose flour too).
Oil - for deep frying

Procedure:
Mix all the ingredients and roll them into tiny balls and deep fry till golden brown. Serve with onions and enjoy .

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Vegetarian Chili

I looked all over for a Veg. Chili recipe and decided to do it my own simple way.
If you are going to have this for dinner try to make it in the morning. Tastes much better when it sits for long time:). Most recipes called for zuchhini but I added Mexican squash instead.

Also you can add ground chicken to this if you like some extra protein or are craving some meat.

Ingredients:

Onion - 1/2 cup diced
Green bell pepper - 1 diced
Celery - 1 cup diced
Carrot - 1 cup diced
Mexican Squash - 2 diced
Corn Kernels - 1 cup
Artichoke Hearts - 1 5 oZ can
Button Mushrooms - 6 diced
Jalapeno - 1 diced ( I added the seeds too)
Tomatoes - 1 14.5 oz can
Red Kidney beans - 1 15 oz can drained
Ketchup - 1 Tbsp.
Orange Juice - freshly Squeezed - 1/4 cup
Vegetable Broth - 1 8 oZ can
Ground Cumin - 1 Tbsp.
Red Chili Powder - 1tsp.
Paprika - 1 tsp.
Dried Rosemary - 1tsp.
Dried Parsley - 1tsp.
Garlic Powder - 1 tsp.
Salt and pepper - to taste
Olive oil - as needed

Procedure:

Heat oil in a 3 qt. pan. Saute onions, jalepenos, celery, carrots and peppers for 5 minutes. Add the squash, mushrooms and corn and season it with some salt and pepper.
Saute for 10 minutes. Add the rosemary, parsley, cumin, garlic, chili powder and paprika. Stir for few minutes. Add the orange juice, veg. broth. Mix and adjust seasoning. Add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts and beans. Bring to a boil and simmer. Add ketchup, mix and let it sit on low flame for 20 to 30 minutes.


I am serving this tonight for dinner with baked potato and side salad.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Tips.....

Random things I do in the kitchen. Just wanted to share. You might have heard about them, read somewhere but never hurts to read again ;).

- Never store tomatoes in the fridge. They lose all their nutritional value. Take them out of the plastic bag as soon as you bring them home from the store and leave them in an open space.

- Frozen vegetables are as good as fresh and sometimes better.

- Take a knife skills class at your local community college or a supermarket that has cooking classes. It's well worth it. Once you know how to handle a 10 inch knife, cooking is much easier and faster.

- Pre-cut veggies and keep them on hand - you can make your own salad bags and keep them ready.

- This is an awesome website to look into for anything and everything. America's Test Kitchen


I will add more to this list when I remember more.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Easy peasy macaroni

Throw in things you got on hand and you will get this easy macaroni dish. I had to come up with something for Prabu's lunch today and this is what I gave him. I used whole wheat macaroni.

Ingredients:

Macaroni - 1/2 lb dry - cooked per instructions on the box
Orange bell pepper - 1 cut into small pieces
Celery - 1/2 cup chopped fine
Shallot - one chopped fine
Tomatoes - 1 large chopped fine
Garlic - 3 cloves sliced
Red chilli flakes - 1 tsp.
Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp.
Salt - as per taste
Oil - as needed

Procedure:

While the pasta is boiling, heat oil in a shallow pan. Add garlic and red chilli flakes. After 20 seconds add shallots, celery and peppers. Season with salt and pepper and cook till veggies are a little soft but not too mushy. Add the tomatoes and cook till tomatoes wilt. Add the cooked macaroni, toss and serve. You can even add fresh basil and some pecorino romano cheese if you like.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Rice Pudding/Parvanam

This is my fastest, simplest way of whipping up an Indian sweet and this is the one and only Indian desert I think I have made so far.
Couple of things to note: The water and milk you use for this recipe should be at the same temperature. Try not to use warm milk with cold water.

I have 2 different sets in my family. One set likes the pudding cold and hard like an ice cream and the other likes it creamy and milky;).

So I make it hard to start with and for people who like it creamy, I just add warm milk towards the end.

Ingredients:

Rice - 1 cup ( uncooked)
Jaggery or brown Sugar - 1 cup or as per your taste (if you want less sweet)
Cold Water - 2 cups
Cold Milk - 2 cups
Cardamom - 4 crushed
Cashews - 1/4 cup
Raisins - 1/4 cup
Butter - 4 Tbsp.

Procedure:

Wash rice and water and milk to it and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook on low till almost all the liquid is evaporated.

While that's getting done, add the jaggery and 1/2 cup to a cup of water in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it for 2 to 2.5 minutes or till all the sugars are melted. Strain and keep aside

Back to the rice:). Once the rice is cooked, add the jaggery syrup to it. Mix and let it rest.

Melt the butter in a saute pan. Add cardamom, cashews and raisins. Stir till cashews turn golden brown. Add this mixture to the rice pudding. Mix and serve.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Maggi Noodles

You get these in Indian store. As a kid i hated the taste of this. But now we do cook it once in a while. They came up with whole wheat version of these noodles which aren't so bad. Here's my vegetable version.

Ingredients:

Maggi Noodles: 4 pack
Onion - 1/2 cup diced
Tomato - 1 medium diced
Mixed Vegetables - 3 cups steamed
Garam Masala - 1 tsp.
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Taste maker - this comes with the noodles.

Procedure:

Boil the noodles per package instructions and keep aside.
Saute onions till they turn light brown. Add vegetable and saute them for few more minutes. Add the tastemaker, garam masala, salt ( just enough for veggies), red chili powder and stir till you lose the raw chili flavor. Add tomatoes, 1/4 cup of water and cook till tomatoes are soft. Add the noodles and mix well.

You have to eat this hot off the stove though. Doesn't taste that great cold.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fusion - really?

I am all for fusion cooking except ( you knew this was coming didn't you) for Italian food. I love that cuisine so much, I refuse to do it any other way than how it's supposed to be. My dear husband wants me to experiment pasta with some garam masala to it or make chicken cacciatore with some extra red chili powder and I haven't given into his wishes yet. He realized it too and stopped asking me ( sorry hon). I think I am very biased when it comes to Italian cooking. My pesto will not have mint and my marinara will not have garam masala:). Hey Italians use bay leaves, pepperoncinis, cloves and cinnamon too you know;).

I think, I should start looking into fusion Indian cooking. That sounds more fun. We went to this restaurant called "The Rupee Room" in NJ. It's an Indian-American fusion restaurant and the 2 times I had food there, I was impressed. However, I am not sure if the "fusion" was in the decor and presentation or in the food. I actually have to go read up on what do you call "Indian-American". Baked potato with some Cabbage Pappu as topping or Grilled Shrmip with Masala Dressing? I am not sure yet but I don't think it hurts to try:).

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cabbage with Yellow Lentils ( Cabbage with Pesarapappu)

This is one of my favorite dish. I never made it myself. I always had mom make it for me. I did today and I am patting myself for doing a good job;). You HAVE to appreciate yourself once in a while now, don;t you?

Ingredients:


Cabbage - 4 cups Shredded
Yellow moong dal( pesarapappu) - 1 cup soaked in water for one hour or more
Garlic - 3 cloves crushed
Curry Leaves - 4
Green Chili - 1 cut length wise
Turmeric - pinch
Red Chili Powder - 2 tsps or per taste
Salt - to taste
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - as needed

Procedure:


Heat oil in a shallow pan. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds. Once they sputter add the green chilli, curry leaves and garlic. Stir for 30 seconds and add the cabbage. Add salt enough for the cabbage and stir. Turn the flame to medium low, add 1/4 cup of water and cover and cook for 10 minutes or till the cabbage is just tender. To this add the soaked yellow lentils and mix. Add the red chili powder, turmeric and little more salt for the lentils and let it cook on medium heat till the lentils are cooked to the tooth.

Remove from heat and serve with rice or make it a sandwich by adding this to slice of whole grain bread.

You say Tandoori Chicken, I say Suji's special Chicken

I made this dry fry yesterday. why? Because I just felt like it:)

Marinade:
Yogurt - 2 cups
Garam Masala - 2 Tbsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 Tbsp
Turmeric - 1/2 Tbsp.
Ginger and garlic paste - 1 Tbsp

Mix all the above ingredients and keep aside

Ingredients:
Chicken - 2 lbs cut into thin strips
Oil - as needed
Salt - to taste

Procedure:

Coat the chicken well with the marinade (do not add salt ) and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

You can the grill them or even bake them in the oven. I stir fried it in the pan with olive oil and sprinkled salt towards the end that way the meat doesn't become too tough.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Random Thoughts

There are several tastes that you get when you prepare a dish. Sweet and sour, hot and spicy are not the only things to do. I was watching food network's All star grilling at south beach last night and something that Tyler Florence (I have a serious crush on this guy;)) did made me go, "Dhuhhh". He added honey to one of the coconut sauces he made and also some extra brown sugar. And then everyone complains as to how we are adding extra calories to our food and then they come up with another show called "low-calorie food".

I guess my point for this entry is this: Just because you have a sour sauce doesn't mean you HAVE to balance it with sugar and just because you are making a spicy sauce doesn't mean you have to have a big Chocolate cake as dessert. Back home in India when I was growing up, we didn't have the concept of having a desert every night after dinner. Sweets and cakes are made for special occasions and even if we did them for everyday use, it was more used as an evening snack instead of having it after 7.30 in the night ( which from what I read and hear is not good).

Let's talk about fruits for a second here. Eat the fruit the way it is. Don't make a fruit salad and add simple syrup to it. The fruit already has sugar in it and you are extra sugar to it. And strawberries can be eaten just the way they are. You do not HAVE to dip them in chocolate all the time. Let's just keep sugar for coffee and tea and chocolate for just once in a while indulgence now, shall we?

If you spend 5 minutes planning the menu, you can save minimum 30 minutes of time you spend in the kitchen and also can come out with a well balanced meal. It could be Indian, Italian, Mexican or Chinese. A cup of cooked brown rice with a side of lentil s with tomato and a beans and broccoli stir fry sounds like a good deal to me and I can promise you won't spend more than 30 minutes in the kitchen ( I am trying really hard not to sound like Rachael Ray here).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Beetroot Pulao

I wanted to do something different with beetroot this time and I remembered having this pulao at Prabu's friends place last year. So here it is.

Ingredients:
Rice: 2 cups washed and soaked in water
Beetroot: 2 medium - grated ( use the bigger corer)
Onion - 1 small diced thin
Green chillies - 3 slit length wise
Mint leaves - few minced
Coriander leaves - few minced
Ginger and garlic paste - 2tsp.
Garam Masala - 2 tsp.
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp.
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon Stick - 1 inch
Cardamom - 4 pods
Coriander seeds - 1tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp.
Dried Bay Leaf - 2
Salt - to taste
Oil - 5 Tbsp
Butter - 1 + 1 Tbsp

Procedure:

Heat oil and 1 Tbsp butter in a shallow pan. Add the dry masala ( cinnamon,cloves, cardamom,cumin,coriander seeds, bay leaf) and saute for 30 seconds till you get nice fragrance out of it. Add the chopped green chillies, mint and coriander leaves and saute for 30 seconds. Add onions and a little bit of salt. Add ginger & garlic paste to this and saute till onions are translucent. Add beetroot to this and saute for a minute. Add enogh salt for this, chili powder and garam masala and stir till beetroot is tad bit on the soft side. Add the rice to this and stir till all the rice and massala are mixed. Raise the flame to high and add 4 cups of water and cover and cook. Once water starts to boil, stir in the other Tbsp. of butter, check for salt and lower the flame and cook till rice is done.

You can serve it with onion raita:)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Beera Kaya Koora ( Ridge Gourd/Chinese Okra Curry)

You get this vegetable in most India and Chinese grocery stores. I haven't seen them in regular super markets as much yet. If you are more into having crunchy vegetables than soft ones, this might not be it for you:). However I promise, once you try it you will like it. It's a tad bit acquired taste. There are several million ways you can cook with this vegetable. Make a chutney, dal, stew, soup and what not. Today I am going to make a curry out of it so it can be used at lunch with rice and with some bread or rotis for dinner tonight.

You have to peel the thick skin and also gut the seeds out of this, then it won't be as mushy:).
You can use frozen coconut powder

In this recipe ( and most in general) whenever I have to grind onions, I cut them into thin strips, saute them in little oil till light brown and then grind them to a paste. This way ( this is just my opinion) I feel like I don't have too much raw onion smell going on and also easy to stir fry the masala.

You can add half cup of cubed potatoes, turnips or carrots to this dish. Adds a good flavor and also some more meatiness to it:)

Ingredients:
Beera Kaya( Ridge Gourd) - 2 large cut into cubes
Onion - 1 medium - cut in thin slices
Tomatoes - 1 medium - cut into thin slices
Green chillies - 2 slit length wise
Curry leaves - 4 - 6
Garlic - 2 cloves
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Coconut Powder - 1/4 cup
Coriander seeds - 1 Tbsp.
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp.
Red Chilli Powder - per taste
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - as needed

Procedure:

Heat oil in a pan. Add green chillies and onions and stir fry them with little bit of salt till onions are light brown. Add tomatoes to this and sautee them till tomatoes are soft and start braking in oil. Turn the stove off, remove pan from heat and let it cool for a bit. To this add coconut, coriander seeds, ginger, garlic, turmeric and grind it to a smooth paste with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water.

Heat oil in a shallow pan and add mustard, cumin seeds. Once they start spluttering add curry leaves. Add the ridge gourd pieces and sautee them till a little soft. Add salt to the pieces. Now add the ground paste to this and half cup of water and let it cook for 10 to 12 minutes covered on a medium to low flame. Keep checking in between to make sure the gravy is not sticking to the pan and you have enough water for the masala to stick to the vegetable.

Remove the lid and cook on high flame till all the water is evaporated and you end up with a gravyish dish:).